Thunder Bay Farmers’ Market relocates to the North End Rec Centre

Thunder Bay Farmers’ Market is moving after operating in Victoriaville for three decades.

THUNDER BAY – The organizer of the Thunder Bay Farmers’ Market is hoping a fresh start in a new location will revitalize the market after a nearly three-year hiatus.

The market is not affiliated with Thunder Bay Country Market, located in the Dove Building at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition.

Thunder Bay Farmers’ Market operated in Victoriaville from 1989 to 2019.

Soon after, COVID-19 hit, and since then the city has decided to demolish Victoriaville.

“Everything has changed in the mall. There aren’t many shops left there… so we decided we had to move somewhere,” says Esther Paasolainen, volunteer manager at Thunder Bay Farmers’ Market.

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“We had to go somewhere else or quit altogether.”

The market resumes on Friday, September 23 at the North End Recreation Center on Huron Avenue.

It will then operate every Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m

Paasolainen said that as of 2018 there were only about nine participating vendors in Victoriaville.

Although the new location is much smaller than the mall, there will be a greater variety of vendors, each offering a different product.

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“We had to change our mode. What we’re going to have are craft vendors so there aren’t two people selling the same thing.”

She listed the products of some of the vendors already in line, including:

  • Fresh produce from local farmers
  • semi-precious jewelry
  • knitted clothes
  • Cupcakes
  • soap
  • Watkins products
  • perogies
  • Breakfast and lunch dishes prepared in the hall kitchen Kokum’s Bannock and beyond

A dining area will also be arranged in the hall.

“We have a lot of awesomeness,” Paasolainen said, adding that she still hires other vendors, including those with produce or plants.

“These are only the confirmed ones. We have more than we interview. It will be an exciting opening.”

Despite the changes it’s gone through, Thunder Bay Farmers’ Market still retains the name it had when it was founded in 1989.

According to Paasolainen, by definition, more than 60 percent of vendors at a farmers’ market must grow, manufacture, or bake what they’re selling.

Of the 12 participants confirmed so far, only two don’t fall into that category, she said.

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